Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Teen faces grand jury in rape

Action first step at trying him as adult

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEBANON - A 17-year-old Louisville teen was ordered held on a $1 million bond Monday after a juvenile court judge took the first step toward having the boy tried as an adult in the November rape and robbery of a Hamilton Township mother of three.

Judge Mike Powell sent felony charges of rape, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, grand theft and kidnapping against the teen to a Warren County grand jury.

The grand jury will decide whether there's enough evidence to sustain those charges and possibly others, and whether to send the case on to trial in adult court.

In setting the high bond, Judge Powell called the crime "horrendous."

The 17-year-old and an 18-year-old were both charged as juveniles in the Nov. 7 robbery and attack on the 45-year-old woman, who was accosted as she left her Tabard Court home to go to the grocery.

The second teen, who faces similar charges and is jailed in the Louisville area, is fighting extradition to Warren County, where prosecutors want him tried, also as an adult.

Both are charged in a series of home invasion robberies and assaults in Jefferson County, Ky., and Clark County, Ind.

The Enquirer is not naming the two because they were minors at the time of the alleged incident and, for now, have not been ordered to stand trial as adults.

The victim kept her eyes on Assistant Prosecutor Derrick Faulkner in court Monday as she calmly answered his questions about the hour-long ordeal that began about 2:15 p.m.

Her husband and a friend from church sat in the jury box nearby to lend support.

She paused only once - breathing in and taking a moment to regain her composure - when she was asked to describe the 17-year-old's role a sexual assault that she said occurred while she was hogtied with packaging tape in her bedroom closet. She said he threatened to kill her.

The teen, shackled and handcuffed and dressed in an orange jumpsuit, listened quietly, hunched over in his chair next to his lawyer and in front of his mother, who was allowed to sit close by.

Later, outside the courtroom, the mother broke into tears and was unable to talk,

Staring into his lap, the wiry teen glanced up only once during the hearing - when the woman identified him as one of her attackers. With a school-boy haircut and full head of auburn hair, his appearance was in stark contrast to the burr-headed youth the woman had earlier described as her attacker.

She said she was surprised by the 17-year-old and the other teen when she stepped into her open attached garage to leave for the store. She was the only one home at the time.

The two first said they were looking for a girl named "Kim," a ploy the pair may have used several times the day before in unsuccessful attempts to gain access to other homes in the Landen area, township Police Chief Gene Duvelius said. Residents called police after learning about the rape, he said.

The woman testified that the two acted as if they were going to leave, then rushed her as she opened her car door. The older teen grabbed her by the arm and held a gun to her side, she said, while the 17-year-old held a knife. The two demanded that she disclose the whereabouts of money and valuables in her home. She said they took cash, credit cards, a coin collection and her cell phone before they left in her car.

Police found the car abandoned about five miles away. Detectives said they broke the case when they were able to trace calls from the woman's stolen cell phone to a suspect's girlfriend in Louisville.

E-mail smclaughlin@enquirer.com

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